Configure Jeep Grand Cherokee for camping - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 17 Old 09-26-2019, 05:57 AM Thread Starter
robvasi
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Configure Jeep Grand Cherokee for camping

The owners of the house I rent are selling it. This gives me an opportunity to travel without the expense of a permanent residence.

I could trade my 2015 Jeep for a RAM truck, but I can't seem to get to the point of parting with my Jeep.

I am curious to see how Jeep owners have configured their Grand Cherokee's for camping.

I am looking for a device that attaches to the rear that can hold a storage bin and swings to the side to allow the hatch to open.

Thule makes several models of roof storage bins. Which one do you suggest I consider?

I saw online a roof bin that had space for a bed, I can't find that page. Has anyone else seen this?


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post #2 of 17 Old 09-26-2019, 07:25 PM
jldzj59
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Instead of a swing away I modified a cargo carrier. It doubles as a multipurpose campsite table or exterior storage. I made it to be at same height as my cargo box in back with option of making it part of an extended sleeping platform. It has been a valuable piece of kit.
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post #3 of 17 Old 09-27-2019, 02:33 AM
browningv308
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Rooftop tent? Cooking gear goes in the back, larger stuff goes on a hitch rack. Or build a platform in the back so you can level the floor and make space for a sleeping pad gear goes on top or under the Jeep when your sleeping. That's my plan, lower the back seats, place platform on the floor with my air mattress and sleeping bag on it. Cooking gear and food in 1 tote and camping gear in another tote, and a cooler will go on the roof when sleeping.
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post #4 of 17 Old 09-27-2019, 03:00 PM
Ahaze
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The "roof bin with space for a bed" that you saw was likely a hard shell roof top tent. Many of them are designed to perform double duty as a cargo box but require the walls and mattress be removed in order to do so.
We have a roof top tent (folding type, no hard roof) and while it is fantastic for it's intended purpose, I would highly recommend stepping up to a teardrop trailer if you want to live out of your vehicle for a prolonged period of time.
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post #5 of 17 Old 09-29-2019, 01:53 PM Thread Starter
robvasi
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I like the rack you built.

I don't have the tools or the skill to accomplish a build like ours, however, there is a custom weld shop in town that would be able to fabricate this. thank you for sharing the concept.

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post #6 of 17 Old 09-30-2019, 08:38 AM Thread Starter
robvasi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by browningv308 View Post
Rooftop tent? Cooking gear goes in the back, larger stuff goes on a hitch rack. Or build a platform in the back so you can level the floor and make space for a sleeping pad gear goes on top or under the Jeep when your sleeping. That's my plan, lower the back seats, place platform on the floor with my air mattress and sleeping bag on it. Cooking gear and food in 1 tote and camping gear in another tote, and a cooler will go on the roof when sleeping.
I apologize for the delay in my response. I was out of town with no internet access and had some work to do when I got back hone.

While on this two day trip, I slept in my Jeep and found it comfortable. I had two pads and used quilts and a down blanket instead of a sleeping bag. I tried a sleeping bag on another weekend trip and it moved too much under me, It is easier to control coverage with blankets. So, I can sleep in my Jeep. I thought about the platform to sleep on, and decide against it because it would restrict the head room,

Instead of a roof-top tent, a roof storage bin makes more sense. The issue with those I have looked at is that they open on the side so I would need to carry a step ladder. I am looking for one that opens from the back.

I am considering removing passenger side rear seat. My thought is that a storage bin could be placed in that area. What are your thoughts on this?

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post #7 of 17 Old 09-30-2019, 09:04 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Ahaze View Post
The "roof bin with space for a bed" that you saw was likely a hard shell roof top tent. Many of them are designed to perform double duty as a cargo box but require the walls and mattress be removed in order to do so.
We have a roof top tent (folding type, no hard roof) and while it is fantastic for it's intended purpose, I would highly recommend stepping up to a teardrop trailer if you want to live out of your vehicle for a prolonged period of time.
I agree, I would much prefer a small trailer. I will consider this option.

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post #8 of 17 Old 09-30-2019, 07:21 PM
BillWYellStone
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I had set up my Suzuki Grand Vitara with a platform, gear would stow beneath. Top had 3 section mattress and wither a sleeping bag or sheets and blankets. worked great. I sold it and bought the Jeep GC (2008), it does not have quite as much vertical space as the Suzuki, but plan on creating same sort of setup. I also have a Yakima roof pod, fishing and campsite gear go in that. It will open either side, and you can mostly get into it by standing on door sill. Your height and mileage may vary.

A SUV tent is an option, it grips around the body, the rear hatch supports, and the base is staked down. Some better than others, but you sleep in the car and have room to stand and change, etc in the tent portion.

A teardrop is always an option, albeit a pretty expensive option. I use mine for an overnight fishing or photography trips.

For longer camping I just tow the Jeep behind my motorhome. I have done the sleep on a pad on the ground, but at my age, I like my luxury.
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post #9 of 17 Old 10-01-2019, 02:43 AM
browningv308
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Or ditch the idea of camping/living in the Jeep all together and buy a 6x12 or 6x10 cargo trailer and configure it into a camper. Easy to pull around easy to park if you don't mind taking up 2 spaces at the mall and if need be you could lock it up and leave it while you go exploring off road.
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post #10 of 17 Old 10-02-2019, 03:14 AM
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Garage
Check ExpeditionPortal. There is a TON of overlanding info there. Also, check the WK2 section since they are configured differently inside than the WK1.

Solo makes some good swing away, hitch-mounted options. I think most are for the spare, but that would free up the space under the cargo tray.


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post #11 of 17 Old 10-02-2019, 09:52 AM Thread Starter
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Great suggestions, thank you.

I liked the idea of a teardrop trailer. I decided to not get one because of the cost and also because I prefer to not tow anything. I like to drive at the speed limit.

The equipment required for food storage and cooking will utilize about half of the cargo area. Also, time would be used in food preparation and cleanup. In addition, I would need to purchase the equipment. Thus, I will start this adventure the easy way: sleep at the campsite and buy prepared food at a local grocery store. While this will be more expensive than campsite cooking, it will be easier and allow more time for hiking and taking photos. I justified this expense because I won't be paying rent on an apartment or house.

For storage, I looked at the options suggested here and decided to have a storage box built that attaches to the hitch. It is in work this week and will be ready on Monday. The box is 37" x 12" and 14" high.
I plan to remove the right rear passenger seat and use that area to store two duffel bags. Another duffel bag will be positioned along the right side of the cargo area. This will leave ample space for a bunk on the left side.

I am considering the suggestion of a tent with sufficient height so I can stand. I have an idea for this and I will test it.

I talked to the service manager at the Jeep dealership and he said removing the seat is not a good idea because the airbag light would be illuminated all the time without the seat in place. Even so, the idea of duffel bags still seem viable.

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post #12 of 17 Old 10-02-2019, 10:54 AM
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We just fold down the back seats, put a queen size air mattress in there and some sleeping bags. Good for 2 people. The head room is not great so we may be looking at a thiner pad to gain maybe 6 inches of head room as the air mattress is pretty thick. Otherwise, it works fine. Cooler goes in the front seat, some gear goes on the roof rack or under the Jeep.

Pic from camping this summer. Pop up a tarp on some poles and you got a decent camping area.

I was looking at some "overlanding" style cargo trailers + roof top tent but even the cheapest one from Smittybuilt is twice the price of my Jeep. Maybe in the future.
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post #13 of 17 Old 10-03-2019, 08:31 AM Thread Starter
robvasi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by browningv308 View Post
Or ditch the idea of camping/living in the Jeep all together and buy a 6x12 or 6x10 cargo trailer and configure it into a camper. Easy to pull around easy to park if you don't mind taking up 2 spaces at the mall and if need be you could lock it up and leave it while you go exploring off road.
I considered this option a while back and re-visited it when I read your post.

This remains an option.

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post #14 of 17 Old 10-03-2019, 08:40 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ahaze View Post
The "roof bin with space for a bed" that you saw was likely a hard shell roof top tent. Many of them are designed to perform double duty as a cargo box but require the walls and mattress be removed in order to do so.
We have a roof top tent (folding type, no hard roof) and while it is fantastic for it's intended purpose, I would highly recommend stepping up to a teardrop trailer if you want to live out of your vehicle for a prolonged period of time.
Yeah, sleeping in the Jeep for a night was fine, even did it for two nights. More than that will get to be a frustration.

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post #15 of 17 Old 10-03-2019, 09:15 AM Thread Starter
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Update:

I read an article that detailed the options that have been mentioned here. Although no doubt the author is biased, as everyone is, his conclusion makes sense: Use the vehicle for transportation not for sleeping, For sleeping, his suggestion is a tent.

I have a tent selected that has a wide opening that will allow the Jeep to be backed into, thus allowing access to the cargo compartment.

I reconsidered my idea of not cooking at the campsite and I now think campsite cooking will save time and not be as cumbersome as I thought. By not using the cargo area as a bunk, I have space for food, a cooler, tent, and camera equipment.

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